Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes – 3/4/19

Members Present: Alicia Flammia (Chair), John Peska (Vice Chair), Steven Dumont, Laura Hayes, Lewis Shelley, Jackie Kensen

 

Alternates Present: Elaine Heleen, Kelli Wilson, Peter Palmiotto

 

Members Absent: Myra Mansouri, Duncan Watson, Gary Speed

 

Others Present: Michael Nerrie, Cheryl Mayberry (Selectboard Representative), 

 

Call to Order: Alicia called the meeting to order at 7:31 PM. 

 

Seating of Alternates: No seating of alternates required.

 

Review and approve minutes – February 4, 2019. Clarify that the public meeting for the Walker Road Property will be held at a date after the date of the town meeting, to be set in Spring. Alicia would like to clarify that the funds for the Walker Road Property would be kept in a savings account until it has accrued a certain amount of money. There is no $10,000 set amount. Also, Michael Nerrie’s name was spelled incorrectly. John made a motion to approve as amended. Lew seconded. All in favor. Minutes approved as amended.

 

Public Business:

1. Treasury: Conservation fund savings balance is $34,186.09, PDIP is $92,653.23. Forestry savings account balance is $2,271.51, PDIP is $52,526.90. The Mason expendable fund balance is $381,803.17.
2. Correspondence:
a. Annual Robert Hubbard Charitable Contribution check came in, in the amount of $9,150.64. From the net investment return. Needs to be deposited into the Forest fund. Peter was asking what the agreement was that we receive these funds. Michael Nerrie mentioned that the Conservation District has the same type of setup. Funds are donated to them and they put the funds into the NH Charitable Fund, who then owns they money. They then give you the proceeds from the investment. You can choose which type of investment strategy you would like. Alicia read the purpose of the fund, which is to fund the conservation commission for general purposes. Lew mentioned it sounds like the funds should go to the general fund. Peter asked how long we have gotten the fund, if there are any stipulations, and what the original agreement was in terms of Mr. Hubbard’s vision for the funds. Alicia asked for volunteers to do research. Peter will research and get back to the commission.
b. Letter from the selectboard, clarifying the management of the Hooper Forest. It includes; “When the town forester recommends the Hooper Forest be cut, the cost of that harvest should be paid from the proceeds with the remainder of the proceeds deposited in the Hooper Education Trust. The cost of harvest should not come from Conservation funds. If there are any doubts or questions, they should be addressed to the Trustees of the Hooper Trust”.
c. Letter from Cold River Materials, with their list of the hazardous materials that are on site. Includes fuel oil and liquid asphalt.
d. Monadnock Conservancy sent 9 easement landowner surveys, which are all town forests. Jackie will fill out the survey’s.

 

New Business: 

1. Michael Neerie: Michael came back to further discuss the landowner collaborative he is working on. He had a map showing the properties in the area they are focusing on, as well as a watershed map of the areas. He also has a list of stakeholders in the area that they would like help from. The local Conservation Commissions are at the top of the list. Help would include workshops, trail work, spreading the word, etc. They have set up a dinner on May 29th from 5:30 – 8:00 at the Walpole Town Hall to discuss the collaborative. He is looking to have a speaker come to the event. Michael would like the collaborative to work with the Conservation Commission to spread the word about their efforts, develop trails and get a network of people to help maintain them. Peter noted that a lot of the things that Michael has been talking about doing is included as priorities in the Walpole Conservation Plan. Michael asked for the plan. Alicia has it digitally and will send it around to everyone. Michael asked if the WCC has any online presence or email besides the monthly minutes distribution. After discussion of a Facebook page, Steven volunteered to start and administer a Facebook page for the Walpole Conservation Commission. Steven made a motion to start the page. Jackie seconded. This would be used to spread the word about events and the mission of the WCC. Steven will add Alicia and Lew as administrators.
2. Expiring Terms: Alicia, Jackie, Duncan, Peter & Gary’s terms are all up for reappointment. Alicia will stay on as chair for the next three year term, but she would like to retire as chair after this term and is looking for someone whom she could mentor to take over the position. Jackie and Peter will also stay on. Alicia will email Duncan to ask. Laura will mention to Gary if she sees him before the next meeting.
3. Hooper Forest Management Memo: already discussed.

 

Old Business:

1. Walker Road Property Update: Balance of about $3,600.00 in the new savings account. Alicia emailed the town attorney. He is happy to assist the commission with any questions we may have. Funds for paying the attorney for his advice can come out of the savings account funds. Cheryl recommends that if we have questions ahead of time, we send them to the attorney prior to the meeting. Alicia will try to book him for the April meeting. Jackie mentioned that she was at the Fletcher Farm and they were asking if they are okay to hay the field this year. There was discussion on whether we need a formal lease agreement or an informal maintenance agreement. It was agreed that a short maintenance agreement would be appropriate. Laura has some experience with this from a previous job and can ask how their agreements were setup. Alicia is thinking it would be good for the attorney to weigh in on this as well. Since we have a lease agreement template it would be beneficial to have a template for this type of situation. On another subject, John has a phone call into the NH Fish and Game to discuss any potential regulations on the property. Steven asked if anyone has any ideas for the open house on the property. Alicia mentioned we need someone to coordinate the announcement/details for the Open House and the Trail Work Day. Lew will be responsible for the Trail Work Day and Steven will contact Ray Boas to get ahold of their group for ideas. 
2. Reservoir Dam: John discussed the Preliminary Technical Memorandum from Fuss & O’Neill engineers which discussed the deficiencies at the dam. The deficiencies include; the underground culvert needs a new lining, the spillway needs to be regraded, and the slope of the dam is too steep and needs fill to be added. Mark Houghton found the original 1909 blueprints. The next step is to meet with Fuss & O’Neill to find some companies who can do the slip lining work on the culvert, and get estimates from those companies. The culvert is the biggest priority. 
3. Town Easement Report & Maps: Alicia asked if we decided where the funds to pay Laura for the work she has done were coming from. The payment has been previously approved. It was agreed it would come out of the general conservation savings account. Alicia also asked if there is contact information for landowners on the spreadsheet that Laura put together. It could be useful for the commission. The list of conservation land could be put on the WCC’s section of the town website but the contact information or other technical details could be left out. Steven asked where we were on the progress of the spreadsheet and the maps, if we should release a current version, and what the map would look like. Lew mentioned it would be nice to have trails on the maps. Laura mentioned that properties keep getting added. Discussion of maps, what to include and when to release tabled until next meeting.
4. Fannie Mason Feasibility Study/Trail Work: April 13th is the date set for the trail work. It will focus on clearing the trails. There are lots of large trees. There is no rain cancellation unless it is pouring rain. It will be announced in the Walpolean, Clarion and the Facebook page. If there are younger people they should be accompanied by an adult. 
5. Long View Forest Management: Steven mentioned that we told Alex we would be in touch with him about which forests we would like him to proceed with rapid assessments on. We discussed the Reservoir, the Fanny Mason and the March Nelson forests. Alicia will reach out to him.
6. Community Farming Initiative: Alicia asked if anyone who knows any farmers could reach out to see if they are interested in being a member of the commission. Also if we could think about ideas for a town meeting or something similar to discuss the WCC working with farmers.

 

Other Business:

1. Commercial Solar Project: Kelli brought up the solar project that is being proposed for the agricultural property near her house. She discussed similar solar projects she has researched, some that benefit the local communities and some where the energy is sold out of state. There will be a Zoning Board meeting in March.

 

Adjournment: At 9:30 Steven made a motion to adjourn the meeting. John seconded. Meeting adjourned.

Next Meeting: Monday, April 1, 2019 at 7:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted; Steven Dumont, Recording Secretary

Note: These are unapproved minutes. Corrections, if any, will be found in the minutes of April 1, 2019.

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